Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Econ Talk. Man this program pisses me off sometimes. I know I'm no economist, and am not doing as well as I'd like to in Accounting, but the policies and the history that they espouse seem totally wrong. So I guess traditional economists are now viewing themselves as Libertarians. I have to give the party props, they and the greens manage to keep themselves alive in a two party system through sheer effort of will. But the Libertarians have this idea that freedom is a virtue so indelible that to stymie it in anyway spells the doom of society at large. To the good folk at Econtalk, the economy melt down of 2008 occurred not because of a lack of regulation but because of a plethora of bad regulation. Well, how different is that from me saying it wasn't bad regulation, it was de-regulation. We're talking about the same acts, the same bills afterall--the repeal of Glass-Steagal, SOX and the PSLRA. It's all a question of perspective, and from my perspective, the idea that perfect freedom creates perfect society is an idiot's paradise. The freedom to let the bigger fish eat the little fish, and vice versa still ends with a whole lot of fish getting eaten. Maybe that's nature, and maybe that has to happen to some extent. But the purpose, to me, of liberalism is to provide a social safety net. Because it's kind, because it's the right thing to do. And if that brings the whole society a few notches, so what? What is the bar? What are we being measured by? Our success? How would you even measure that, in terms of money? Not only would that be inaccurate, it would be dishonest. No. I think we are measured by our humanity. By the capacity within all of us to sacrifice some good for our common man. And that comes with a recognition that none of us are perfect. My GF hates that I don't volunteer or donate my time to anyone. She's right, she's a better person than I am. But, I'd like to think that at least my heart's in the right place.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
My reading seems to indicate that the woman at the very least, knows it's not true. But this sort of carelessness is Bush league. Very very disappointing. I did some research on the lady, and she has a decent track record--but no one just steps over the border from Canada to the US. There are border controls along every route. America should take responsibility for its own borders not scape-goat the nations that we depend on for trade and good will. Insert foot in mouth Janet. I hate the Department of Homeland Security. Fuck this homeland bull shit. Sounds like the Fatherland. It's my country, it's the place where I live, I have a home in it, and when I'm traveling abroad, I say I'm American--but that's where it stops. I haven't had a sense of pride in my nation since I was 11. And I think the bureaucratic nonsense of having every department roll up under one guy was a huge Bush misstep. So what if separate agencies conflicted. They're still conflicted.
In her defense there does seem to be a bit of confusion here. The article states:
Canada is allowing people into our country that we do not allow into ours."
She made the comments hot on the heels of another contentious remark she made,
where she mistakenly suggested that the 9-11 terrorists entered the U.S. through
However, in the same article, it has the Canadian minister of public safety saying:
"Ms. Napolitano understood quite clearly, then and now, that none of the September 11 terrorists came through Canada, as the 9-11 Commission found."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Liberty requires opportunity to make a living--a living which gives man not only
enough to live by, but something to live for. For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor--other people's lives. These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constituition. ... There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is asked. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing,
do-nothing Government. The nation looked to Government but Government
looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years
with the scourge! Nine mocking years at the ticker and three long years in
the bread-lines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair!
You cannot borrow your way out of debt, but you can invest your way into a
sounder future... Over three years ago, realizing that we were not doing a
perfect thing but that we were doing a necessary thing, we appropriated
money for direct relief. But just as quickly as possible we turned to the job of
providing actual work for those in need. I realize that gentlemen in well-warmed and well-stocked clubs will discourse on the expenses of Government and the suffering that they are going through because their Government is spending money on work relief. Some of these same gentlemen tell me that a dole would be more economical than work relief. That is true. but the men who tell me that have, unfortunately, too little contact with the true America to realise that...most Americans want to give something for what they get. That something, which in this case is honest work, is the saving barrier between them and moral degradation. I propose to build that barrier high and keep it high.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Anyway, here's the point: Obama was right. We needed a bureaucrat, and he gave us one. The markets have effectively stabilized. There is worse news coming, maybe, but the fact of the matter is the Dow is for the first time in years pretty fairly valued. So, I still disagree with the idea of the Obama economy as dialing back time to go on as things were in 2005--I'm a Krugmanite on that score.
One last point about our man Geithner. I think it's dreadfully apparent that the man has no bedside manner. He spoke to Congress like he was hedging--not, I suspect, because he was intentionally misleading, but because he is not a very good public speaker. And not like George Bush--Geithner is by all reports extremely intelligent. I think he must be the quiet nerdy guy who stutters when he has to speak in public. He's no CEO, hired to praise and maneuver the company, however we'll see where he ends up after Treasury. Maybe, in that big head of his, he's trying to explain how derivatives work to Chris Dodd, and he can't spinoff all the equations, and the tiers, and the models into a cohesive narrative soundbite. He's not a financial reporter, or a CEO, or even a CFO. He's a beaurocrat. One thing that ticked me off, was his sneering attitude to Chris Dodd at the hearing. And now it makes sense. Bureaucrats are the guys who are always there: politicians come and go, but the body remains the same. Politicians spout and get incandescent with rage for the camera, but bureaucrats persist. And that's why Jimmy Cayne hates the man so much, calls him a clerk. That may be Geithner's greatest claim to fame. Jimmy Cayne, the pot smoking, bridgeplaying, scrapmetal salesman with no education, who brought down the 85 year old investment firm--that survived the Great Depression, hates Tim Geithner. I can't think of a higher accolade.